Seeing the World

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Surrounded by the tools of his trade, von Ato works on a small sketch that will become the basis of a large painting.


With light streaming through the windows of his second-floor studio, Maciek von Ato steps back to contemplate his latest painting and smiles. While it is still a work in progress, shapes, colors, contrasting lines and dashes of gold fill the canvas as a female form begins to emerge, just as he envisioned.

An enduring artist, von Ato has a signature style formed by a journey marked with a series of twists, turns and travels that have taken him from his native Poland to Austria, Australia, New York City, the suburban Philadelphia area, and finally, happily, to Vero Beach, where several of his paintings have been featured during a three-month exhibition at The Galleries at First Pres (First Presbyterian Church of Vero Beach).

Among them is one von Ato titled “Vero Afternoon.” Blue and gold swirls surround a free-form figure twirling with delight while celebrating a beautiful day. The viewer can’t help but sense the shared joy.

While von Ato’s artistic impressions, inspired by music, nature and surrounding life, have evolved since he graduated with a master’s degree from the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts years ago, his perception of reality and intention to express his surroundings remain much the same.

“I have always tried to create art that has some meaning. Color and shapes are not just intended to cover a canvas, but to tell a story, but not in a realistic way, so that the viewer has an opportunity to use his own imagination,” says von Ato, his voice bearing traces of his European heritage.

“My graphic design education established certain rules in composition and aesthetics and had a large influence on my approach to the structure of my work through the years, but experimenting and chasing new possibilities using shapes, forms and the combination of different styles, is my main goal.”

For as long as he can remember, von Ato has loved to draw. As a young boy he rarely left home without a pad and pencil tucked in his pocket so he could spontaneously sketch whatever intrigued him. As he grew older, the number of sketches multiplied, as did his skill and ability to overlay impressions.

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